Bringing Body and Soul Together

Julie A. Nelson

in Economics for Humans

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2006 | ISBN: 9780226572024
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226572055 | DOI:
Bringing Body and Soul Together

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This chapter tries to illustrate that the cause of the failure of the social sciences to integrate adequately economics and ethics lies in their failure to question the metaphorical image of the economy as a machine. It elaborates how historical and psychological factors have given the metaphor unusual power. It also suggests that a vitalized metaphor that unites the provisioning and the ethical dimensions of economic life could be much more useful. Metaphors are basic to science. Adam Smith theorized a fabulous machine of self-interest-motivated production and exchange. The image of the economy as a beating heart brings together body and soul, and points toward action regarding the heartaches of poverty, hunger, injustice, empty consumerism, and ecological destruction. The economic life must be vital, caring, and responsible. “Business ethics” and “the economics of care” are not just options but requirements.

Keywords: social sciences; economics; ethics; metaphorical image; machine; Adam Smith; beating heart

Chapter.  5971 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economics

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